Barbara Magnoni Personal Messages for WMANY group :
Fellow WMANY member, As you know, I own and manage EA and have been active in microfinance and financial inclusion for over two decades. During this time, I have seen some shifts in the sector, particularly in countries that once boasted a strong participation of women in financial institutions that lend to poor women. Over time, their leadership has been replaced by men, often under the guise of a need for “experience”. This has been difficult to observe on multiple levels. Women employees feel stuck and lose interest in their sector. Men often drift from the mission of serving the poor and most vulnerable (women) because it is harder than serving a burgeoning middle class. Today, only 18% of Board Chairs in MFIs in Lac are women, only 28% of CEOs. As a result of this imbalance, in 2015, I co-founded, Andares, Mujeres para las microfinanzas. A network of women in Latin America who work in the microfinance field and seek opportunities to support the leadership of women in their sector.
Andares, together with Women Advancing Microfinance, New York (WAM NY) are organizing a fundraiser on June 21 in NYC. The event is raising funds exclusively for a peer exchange to support women’s leadership in MFIs in LAC through Andares. We believe that peer exchanges are an effective and cost-effective complement to TA for MFIs as they can have a more lasting effect as they train leaders internally rather than bring external consultants (at the risk of putting ourselves out of business). Peer exchanges can also be critical to leveling the “experience” playing field between men and women in MFI leadership.